The Association of Writers and Writing Programs Conference meets in Washington, DC, this year. We’re especially excited because sneak-peek copies of Generation Space will be available for purchase from Stillhouse Press at Bookfair Booth #503! (If you won’t be at AWP, you can pre-order a copy HERE.)
Here are five bits of Lofty Ambitions advice for writers preparing to attend AWP, plus a bonus and a link to another writer’s advice.
PERUSE THE CONFERENCE SCHEDULE before you get there. Download the app too. Plan a little, leave wiggle room, and pace yourself. The Keynote by Azar Nafisi on Thursday at 8:30pm is sure to be a highlight, and there’s a dance party at 10pm each night. You can browse the schedule and create your own personalized schedule HERE.
PERUSE THE BOOKFAIR MAP before you go. There are almost 800 exhibitors this year! Wander once you there, but take a look ahead of time to see how it’s laid out and where any must-see booths and tables are. Note the locations of the restrooms the concessions, and the AWP booth for information about the conference or organization. See the map and list of exhibitors HERE.
PACK STRATEGICALLY. That means comfy shoes, layers for varying outdoor and indoor temperatures, a compact umbrella, and chargers for your phone, device, and/or laptop. As long as you’re thinking about your laptop, back up your computer—1 in 4 people never back up their files, but writers should get into a weekly, if not daily, habit. Packing strategically also means leaving some room and, if you’re flying, some weight allowance in your luggage for Bookfair purchases and giveaways.
PERUSE THE OFFSITE EVENT SCHEDULE, but wait until Wednesday morning (or Tuesday, since there’s already an event on Tuesday listed) because events are being added all the time. Note which are farther away but worth attending, and remember that Metro makes for quicker, cheaper point-to-point cross-town travel than you might think—that goes for restaurants too! Learn how to use Metro HERE. Note which events are of some interest and close to each other in case you want to pop into more than one in an afternoon or evening. Check that link HERE.
VISIT A MUSEUM. The Smithsonian includes 19 museums and a zoo, all of which are free and open to the public every day except December 25. Most are open 10am-5:30pm, but the American Art Museum and Portrait Gallery are open 11:30am-7pm. Several of the museums—including our favorite, the National Air & Space Museum—are located on The Mall less than a half-mile from the DC Convention Center. Some other museums, such as the Newseum and the International Spy Museum, are not part of that network (and charge an entry fee) but are a lot of fun. See more info about visiting one of the Smithsonian museums HERE.
BONUS: Join us on Saturday, February 11, at 12-2pm at AWP Bookfair Booth #319 for the Chapman University Meet-and-Greet. Free copies of the brand-new print issue of TAB: The Journal of Poetry & Poetics will be available, and sneak-peek copies Generation Space will be for sale across the aisle. Our colleagues Richard Bausch, Jim Blaylock, and Tom Zoellner will be there too!
EXTRA LINK: It’s an older post, but Leslie Pietrzyk’s advice for surviving AWP always holds up. Check it out HERE.